Will Mcast.fm become the Dutch Jott?

May 22, 2008

Mcast.fm as a GTD capture tool.
Recently Mcast.fm went beta. Mcast.fm is a service which enables podcasts over your phone. When you call a number, podcasts are streamed to you.
Perhaps great for some people, but not for me. I’m happy with my iTunes, iPod and ice>Link plus setup.

But a feature which you cannot easily find on the site is a dictation like feature. Call the number, press #0 , start talking, and close with #.
And auto-magically an MP3 is added to your personal feeds on Mcast.fm.

Mcast

You can also see these memo’s on a RSS reader like iGoogle.

Mcast Feed

In my love for GTD, I have the Moleskine inbox when walking around, which I later transfer to a Omnifocus inbox. But I’m still missing the feature to put something in my inbox when driving my car. Or anyplace where I cannot easily write.
I wrote about Jott in GTD with your phone. This service is unavailable where I live.

Can Mcast.fm become this service? It will need speech recognition and some more.
If they will add this they will have a paying customer in me, when they charge for this. For now I will use Mcast.fm as a dictation service, which is a bit better than using your own voicemail….

I really hope they will explore this potential..


Shame on Suunto. Long live Mark Rosenstein.

April 19, 2008

Last Wednesday, my Suunto Stinger died on me after about 6 years of faithful service. It would not enter Divemode anymore. I was already looking for an excuse to go for the Suunto D9. Here was my excuse. So instead of going for a repair I bought the D9.

For their range of divecomputers, Suunto has released Dive Manager software, which shows all data gathered from a dive, like depth, temperature, air.
With my me new toy, Dive Manager software shows gas consumption and temperature across the dive, which my Stinger would not let me have… I took the installation CD and….
System requirements: Windows XP!
Come on Suunto! Where is my Mac software? In 2008?

Fortunately there is DiveLog.

DiveLog

A payware application for Mac OS X Leopard, which can read your D9 data. I needed to update the USB driver for my Mac, but after that I was good to go. Well done Marc.

Here is a screenshot of my second dive with it:

Ronald's Dive log

I think Suunto should give Mark some money and buy that software so they can bundle it.


SelfDiagnose, the world according to my (ATG) application

April 17, 2008

We have all been there, when developing a J2EE application, the environment nightmares. When your stuff goes through the different stages of integration, acceptance, production etc. Stuff just breaksTM, because of misconfiguration. Configuration which you have no control over.

Missing a database table here, a JNDI binding forgotten, a URL not reachable, weird classloading nightmares, because another jar is being used in acceptance.

Here is where SelfDiagnose comes to the rescue. Somehow this little gem gets no press whatsoever. Lately some new tasks have been added to the mix. This blog by Ernest explains something about compile-time dependencies. But more interestingly (to me), SelfDiagnose now contains an CheckAtgComponentProperty task and a CheckEndecaService.
The CheckAtgComponentProperty lets you check an ATG property. I know this can be done with ATG’s component browser as well, but hold on.
The CheckEndecaService will check the availability of the Endeca service.

The combination of these tasks and the chaining of these creates a powerful diagnosis. See the following snippet of code, where first an ATG property is queried which then is chained to the Endeca task. Another nifty SelfDiagnose feature.
This code is heavily customer oriented, but you will get the idea.

    1 <checkatgcomponentproperty
    2     component="/wsp/common/services/search/balancer/connections/EndecaConnection"
    3     property="host"
    4     comment="Endeca Host"
    5     var="eneHost"/>
    6 <checkatgcomponentproperty
    7     component="/wsp/common/services/search/balancer/connections/EndecaConnection"
    8     property="port"
    9     comment="Endeca Port"
   10     var="enePort"/>
   11 <checkendecaservice host="${eneHost}" port="${enePort}" query="N=0"/>

The real cool and not so well understood part about SelfDiagnose in my opinion, is that it will check a bunch of tasks from inside the environment you are executing. This means that the above example will output the ATG configuration and check the configured Endeca instance of the actual environment.
Hitting the selfdiagnose.html url will show:

Endeca Diagnose

I just mentioned the ATG and Endeca tasks, but there is a lot more which can be extremely helpful.
This nifty feature can save some energy when something is misconfigured. Checking the selfdiagnose URL can save a lot of time.


Adobe Lightroom and the EXIF dates

February 21, 2008

A couple of days ago I wrote a blog entry about changing the Exif date in my photos. Adventures in Exif land.
Off course the big missing application which I did not try was Adobe Lightroom

When I downloaded the trial, to my big amazement I noticed a Find function on EXIF.

Find in EXIF

So I can select on the camera. Only those photos will be selected. Wow!

Then I noticed that I can edit the Metadata date.

Change Time in Lightroom

Even better if you notice the highlighted text: If you do a multiple select, Lightroom will change the date of the other photos relatively. Now that is really really smart. This is just what I need. A very nifty feature in my opinion.
It is a pity about the steep price of Adobe Lightroom. About €300. I guess it is worth it, but for just Exif editing, perhaps not.

So if you need this feature, Lightroom is a much better product than Aperture. Unless I completely missed that feature in Aperture.
Actually Lightroom feels to me a much more polished product.
What the hell was Apple thinking with those context sensitive menus in Aperture? They look completely different then anything else on Mac OS X.

Aperture menu


JAlbum, Adobe Bridge, Adobe Photoshop, Apple Aperture and…. exiftool

February 18, 2008

How to update the EXIF dates

Recently I have been trying to get my online photo album up to date.
I use the excellent JAlbum software to create my photo albums. A bit of Photoshop for cropping, rotating and resizing. Although technically the latter two are not necessary since JAlbum can do that as well.

JAlbum will sort the photos on file modification date. Fortunately there is an option which sets the modification to the EXIF Date Time Original. Precisely how I like it, sorted on the date the photo is shot.

All is well and good…until

…I arrive at the photos from a holiday in Malaysia with three friends. We used four cameras.

  • Olympus SP550UZ
  • Olympus U770SW
  • Canon Powershot S1 IS
  • Canon Powershot A40

When I was busy adobefying the photos from Malaysia, I noticed in Adobe Bridge when sorted on Date created that one of the cameras was 3 days and a couple of hours out of sync…Yeah it was mine.

So I started the simple task of changing the EXIF Date Time Original, or so I thought.
Amazingly I could no do this with Adobe Bridge or Adobe Photoshop. I looked at Reveal but changing one file at a time was a bit troublesome.
I looked at the Apple Aperture 2 trial, but to no avail.

I was really amazed that none of these tools supported what I needed.
After some googling I found exiftool
This is one amazing tool, although I could not get all the features to work. Theoretically it can find all the files in a folder of a certain model and then change the date for instance. Well for the Canons this works as advertised. Unfortunately it does not for the Olympus.

So

exiftool -AllDates +=0:0:20 0:0:0 -if '$model eq "Canon PowerShot S1 IS"' .

works, but

exiftool -AllDates +=0:0:20 0:0:0 -if '$model eq "u770SW,S770SW"' .

does not. Or

exiftool -AllDates+=1:30 -if '$make eq "Canon"' .

works, but

exiftool -AllDates+=1:30 -if '$make eq "OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP."' .

does not. Although I got all the data with exiftool -a -u and copied that.

So I manually removed all the photo files besides the photos shot with the Olympus U770SW and did a

exiftool -AllDates+='0:0:3 16:0:0' .

Touchdown! Way to go Phil Harvey.
These features would be nifty when inside Adobe Bridge or Photoshop.


Backup and copy Time Machine folder with SuperDuper!

February 9, 2008

Last Tuesday it was SuperDuper! Tuesday. SuperDuper! is now Leopard compatible.
Presumably due to a lot of changes in the HFS+ file system SuperDuper! was no longer Leopard compatible. The Shirt Pocket Blog has been an entertaining read for the last couple of months. Especially so the comments. I pitied Dave.

Anyway now I can use SuperDuper! again.

Since I just bought a Maxtor OneTouch 1TB machine, I gave SuperDuper! 2.5 a test spin. Just to see if it works, I tried to copy my Time Machine Backup from my OneTouch 500 MB to the other drive. As you may know you cannot just do a file copy. That will not work. Complicated stuff and all.

Copy Time Machine to another external drive

The following routine worked for me. Thanks to Dave for a hint about the restore part.

Tm clone with SD

  1. Disable Time Machine.
  2. Start SuperDuper! and select the script Copy user data and edit that one. Remove the item /User and add the Backups.backupdb folder. You can find this one under /Volumes/diskname . Add that one.
  3. Do a smart backup from that external using the new script. Put it in any location you like.
  4. Mount the new image and start SuperDuper!
  5. Do a copy from that image to the new external hard disk, but make sure you do “Use Copy Newer Files” to the new external hard disk. See the screenshot.
  6. Select the new backup disk in time Machine preferences.
  7. Enable Time Machine

Surely you must be able to do this with Disk Utility as well. SuperDuper! is a bit easier IMO.

SuperDuper! saved me once when a hard disk failed. So I was a huge fan of SuperDuper! But this is a cool feature as well.


Daring Devious Darryl Dude Needs Feedback and a bit of money along the way

January 17, 2008

Are you living in the Netherlands and need a book, a nice Cd, perhaps a Dvd, the latest Wii game or what have you, use the this affiliate thingabee. You will make Darryl happy.

I know I will use it.

Darryl’s commuting habits need a faster car.